“God, Black Holes, and the End of the Universe”

by Dr. Sarah Salviander

The late physicist who coined the now-famous term “black hole” to describe a massive gravitational object that swallows light itself, John Archibald Wheeler said in interview shortly before his death in 2008, “The world is a crazy place, and the way it’s organized is truly crazy. But, we have to be crazy enough to see what that way is if we’re really going to understand this physical world. It’s not just a matter of nice, simple formulas.”[1] Sarah Salviander, an expert in the quixotically massive natures of black holes, will unpack all the mystery and wonder surrounding these incredibly perplexing entities, safely bringing them down to earth for a wider audience to appreciate and enjoy. In December of 2008, researchers had uncovered in the core of the Milky Way a stellar dance of many suns. “Like ballerinas pirouetting around an invisible leader, a collection of stars orbits our galaxy’s gravity sink, or black hole. New infrared images of the cosmic dance confirm that this supermassive black hole weighs as much as 4 million suns.”[2] Weighty. Extraordinarily weighty. Who can imagine the weight of four million suns? The heavens do indeed declare the glory of God and the firmament shows forth His handiwork, black holes included. Dr. Salviander weaves together a compelling narrative of the glorious dancing mass of black holes, and how her study of the heavens eventually led her to the foot of the cross.

Dr. Sarah Salviander received her PhD in astrophysics from the University of Texas at Austin. She was a researcher at UT for sixteen years, where she specialized in the study of quasars, supermassive black holes, and galaxies. She is the author of several peer-reviewed journal papers and a comprehensive Astronomy & Astrophysics homeschool curriculum. She is currently writing books about the remarkable confluence between Christianity and modern science. Author Website: sarahsalviander.com

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4vvQfyUvXg accessed November 2, 2016.

[2] “New Observations Detail Milky Way’s Big Black Hole,” accessed June 1, 2017, http://www.space.com/6208-observations-detail-milky-big-black-hole.html